Saturday, May 1, 2010

Algae plastic

Plastic is one of our favorite manufacturing materials. You can make it in so many kinds, with practically any trait imaginable, and for cheap. Only problem is, it's made of oil, which we're finding less and less of every year.
Discovery News is reporting that a California biotech company is now making plastic directly from algae.
Aside from the sustainability issue, as algae keeps going but oil has been used up faster than its been produced for the last 110 years, this is also useful for red tide issues. Too much algae on your beach? Rake it up and make it into plastic. No more will it rot in the sea, stinking it up and draining it of oxygen so hard that all the fish die. No more will it poison the oysters and clams. We'll make it into cars, keyboards, and iPods and be done with it.
It's also a great carbon sink. Algae are plants, and suck carbon and nitrogen from their environment to make their bodily structure, and we're very good at replacing the nitrogen.

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